At-Large Draft Advice Letter on Consumer Trust, Consumer Choice, and Competition Workspace

Draft Advice Letter on Consumer Trust, Consumer Choice, and Competition 

Comment/Reply Periods (*)

Important Information Links* Public Comment Announcement

Comment Open:

23 February 2012

Comment Open:

23 February 2012

Comment Close:

17 April 2012

Close Time (UTC):

23:59

Reply Open:

18 April 2012

Reply Close:

8 May 2012

Close Time (UTC):

23:59

Brief Overview

 

Originating Organization:

GNSO Council Consumer Metrics Working Group

Categories/Tags:

ICANN Board/Bylaws; Transparency/Accountability

Purpose (Brief):

The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council's Consumer Metrics (CCTC) Working Group requests community input on the draft Advice Letter [PDF, 234 KB] on Consumer Trust, Consumer Choice, and Competition at the request of the ICANN Board.

Current Status:

This Public Comment solicitation represents an opportunity to share perspectives on the proposed definitions of Consumer, Consumer Trust, Consumer Choice, and Competition with in the draft Advice Letter. The CCTC Working Group will host a public session in Costa Rica and the close of the comment period will extend after the meeting to allow the community adequate time for comment.

Next Steps:

The CCTC Working Group will consider the comments received as part of their deliberations and creation of the final Advice Letter. The final version will be submitted to the GNSO Council for consideration. If it is approved the GNSO Council will submit the Advice Letter to the ICANN Board.

Staff Contact:

Julie Hedlund

Email:

policy.staff@icann.org

Detailed Information

 

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

The Consumer Metrics Working Group produced a draft Advice Letter defining Consumer, Consumer Trust, Consumer Choice, & Competition at the request of the ICANN Board Resolution (2010.12.10.30) to Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs). The Working Group is seeking community feedback on the draft, which will be considered by GNSO Council. If it is approved the GNSO Council will submit the Advice Letter to the ICANN Board.

Section II: Background

The GNSO Council chartered the CCTC Working Group on 22 September 2011. It was intended that the Charter [PDF, 642 KB] could also be formally endorsed by the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO), but their endorsement was not a requirement for participation in the Working Group. The charter Drafting Team understood that its goal was to produce advice for consideration by GNSO, ccNSO, Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and ALAC, each of whom was asked for advice as part of the Board resolution discussed above. Each AC/SO may act independently on the CCTC Working Group's draft advice, and may endorse all, part, or none of the draft advice as it decides how to respond to the Board resolution.
The CCTC Working Group understands that the purpose of this advice is to provide ICANN's Board with definitions, measures, and targets that could be useful to the Affirmation of Commitments (AOC) Review Team that will convene one year after new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are launched. However, the CCTC Working Group understands that this advice cannot pre-determine or otherwise limit the scope of the future AOC review team.

Section III: Document and Resource Links

  1. 22 September 2012 GNSO Council Resolution Chartering the CCTC Working Group: https://community.icann.org/display/gnsocouncilmeetings/Motions+22+September+2011
  2. CCTC Charter: http://gnso.icann.org/drafts/cci-charter-07sep11-en.pdf [PDF, 642 KB]
  3. Draft Advice Letter: http://gnso.icann.org/drafts/cctc-draft-advice-letter-22feb12-en.pdf [PDF, 234 KB]

Section IV: Additional Information

None

(*) Comments submitted after the posted Close Date/Time are not guaranteed to be considered in any final summary, analysis, reporting, or decision-making that takes place once this period lapses.

Click here to download a copy of the draft Statement in PDF format.

Draft ALAC Statement on Draft Advice Letter on Consumer Trust, Consumer Choice, and Competition.pdf

 
Reservations regarding the "consumer“ term in German

The notion of “consumer” or “Konsument” (or “Verbraucher”) in German language offers divers connotations, depending on context and circles where it is used. Many of EURALO’s German (or germanophone) ALSes may challenge this term because it offers a dichotomous and rather traditional understanding particularly if adopted for the Internet age. And we have learned that this ambiguous perception is shared by member ALSes in other European countries.

A consumer or “Konsument” or “Verbraucher” in German is somebody who is mostly interested in general consumption. Commercial offers should be inexpensive and of decent quality or providing a good value-for-money ratio. Consumer trust is considered important. Besides a certain purchasing power, “der Konsument” is rather inactive than pro-active, or sort of “couch potato” in a traditional sense. Consumer associations are still confined in the analogue age and remarkably reluctant to broaden their scope to the Online world.

The notion of “consumer” or “Konsument” is more and more generalized up to whateverism and political abuse. In the area of media for example, recipients are no longer and more precisely specified or characterized as readers, spectators, audience, public or the like but reduced and generalized as “Konsumenten”. And whatever pleases a certain majority of “consumers” must be good, even if bare of substance. Institutions of public broadcasting are increasingly affected by this tendency. Furthermore, Internet users are more and more also producers of content and actively sharing information. Besides, traditionally consuming something (e. g. food, water, energy etc.) implies that the resource or commodities in question diminishes by consumption. Therefore we think, we should not use the same word for a resource which actually grows in value when it is "consumed" or shared by more people.

When you refer to consumer choice, trust, protection and the like, you imply conventional commerce, consumption and markets but not obviously Online and the Internet. As this notion in a German language context and further European perceptions doesn’t offer much specification or clarification but more likely nebulisation, our community prefers and mostly uses the Internet user notion (“Internetnutzer”). The Internet user won’t reconcile him/herself with a role of conventional passive consumption but insists on inter-activity, surfing, commenting, down/uploading, and the whole variety of options provided by the Internet. To our understanding, the “Internetnutzer” is comparably younger with certain skills for the use / Nutzung of the Internet (factor of empowerment) and showing a certain political sensitivity when key issues and principles of the Internet like access or openness etc. are at stake. In related terms, we also talk about Internet-Nutzung (usage), Nutzungsgewohnheiten (habits) and more of such user specifications, whereas “consumption of the Internet” simply sounds strange and dissociated in German. These are some brief reflexions explaining our reservations regarding the “consumer” term.

(April 2012 / Wolf Ludwig and Yrjö Länsipuro for EURALO)

--- Second Draft (Final) / 16 April 2012)

Click here to download a copy of the draft below in PDF format

The At-Large Advisory Committee fully supports the recommendations of the Consumer Trust, Consumer Choice and Competition Working Group, noting that several of its members were active members of the Working Group.

While it is understood that the use of the term "Consumer" was made by the Board using an expression from the "Affirmation of Commitments", the ALAC emphasizes the problem that the use of such a term causes for our community, especially in some of our regions.

To illustrate its inadequacy, please find the following case example:

Reservations regarding the "consumer“ term in German

The notion of “consumer” or “Konsument” (or “Verbraucher”) in German language offers divers connotations, depending on context and circles where it is used. Many of EURALO’s German (or germanophone) ALSes may challenge this term because it offers a dichotomous and rather traditional understanding particularly if adopted for the Internet age. And we have learned that this ambiguous perception is shared by member ALSes in other European countries.

A consumer or “Konsument” or “Verbraucher” in German is somebody who is mostly interested in general consumption. Commercial offers should be inexpensive and of decent quality or providing a good value-for-money ratio. Consumer trust is considered important. Besides a certain purchasing power, “der Konsument” is rather inactive than pro-active, or sort of “couch potato” in a traditional sense. Consumer associations are still confined in the analogue age and remarkably reluctant to broaden their scope to the Online world.

The notion of “consumer” or “Konsument” is more and more generalized up to whateverism and political abuse. In the area of media for example, recipients are no longer and more precisely specified or characterized as readers, spectators, audience, public or the like but reduced and generalized as “Konsumenten”. And whatever pleases a certain majority of “consumers” must be good, even if bare of substance. Institutions of public broadcasting are increasingly affected by this tendency. Furthermore, Internet users are more and more also producers of content and actively sharing information. Besides, traditionally consuming something (e. g. food, water, energy etc.) implies that the resource or commodities in question diminishes by consumption. Therefore we think, we should not use the same word for a resource which actually grows in value when it is "consumed" or shared by more people.

When you refer to consumer choice, trust, protection and the like, you imply conventional commerce, consumption and markets but not obviously Online and the Internet. As this notion in a German language context and further European perceptions doesn’t offer much specification or clarification but more likely nebulisation, our community prefers and mostly uses the Internet user notion (“Internetnutzer”). The Internet user won’t reconcile him/herself with a role of conventional passive consumption but insists on inter-activity, surfing, commenting, down/uploading, and the whole variety of options provided by the Internet. To our understanding, the “Internetnutzer” is comparably younger with certain skills for the use / Nutzung of the Internet (factor of empowerment) and showing a certain political sensitivity when key issues and principles of the Internet like access or openness etc. are at stake. In related terms, we also talk about Internet-Nutzung (usage), Nutzungsgewohnheiten (habits) and more of such user specifications, whereas “consumption of the Internet” simply sounds strange and dissociated in German. These are some brief reflexions explaining our reservations regarding the “consumer” term.

Recommendation

Although the report of the Working Group clearly defines the term "Consumer" as  "actual and potential Internet users and registrants", the ALAC believes that the correct term to use in all publications instead of "Consumer" should be "Internet User" and "Consumers" as "Internet Users" whether they are registrants or not. The recommendation of the ALAC is for the ICANN Board to use the term "Internet User" in future work and communication referring to "actual and potential Internet users".

The ALAC leaves it to the Board to determine how to respond to third parties that use the term "Consumer" in light of the dissociation in the international context, an example of which is provided in this Statement.

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1 Comment

  1. I suggest that the word “users” in all the definitions presented in page 4 of the DRAFT document be replaced by “Internet users” for more clarity and specificity. These definitions seems to be OK.

     With regards to the ALAC statement it is not clear if we are suggesting to enhanced the definition of the consumer to include habits, surfing, etc. Also, the statement is focused in an specific region of the word. It should be more generalized.